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Review of White House Down - 'So Hokey' ...Yet Moving

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This review originally appeared on Quora.
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Answer by Todd Gardiner, Photographer and Film Buff

I experienced a weird feeling of "this scene is so hokey" and yet was also moved by these same scenes. Emmerich turned a Die Hard script into something entertaining.

Tatum and Foxx do their roles well. The first is a cop with family problems that ends up in a caper by accident. He is glib and does action really well. You know, like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. The same could be said for Jamie Foxx essentially being Samuel L. Jackson in Die Hard 3, except that he is also Obama at the same time. Obviously!

The script is not the strong point of this movie; or at least the characters aren't. Every single one seems like a copy from the Die Hard franchise. But the movie does dish up action, never has glaring plot holes, sets up reasonable motivations and consequences; you know, like Die Hard. Nothing really wrong with that as I see it.

There is some action-fatigue in this movie, the fight scenes are drawn out and are that choppy editing that was all the rage when Gladiator was released. (Very useful for allowing actors that don't really know how to fight to do the scene themselves.) And why we have to follow helicopters through the streets of Washington for two whole minutes just to get them to the scene was perplexing to me.

What got me was the ending clichés. Stock of the trade for Emmerich, so it should be expected. I don't know how he sets up something really stupid, like waving the Presidential flag to signal an abort to an approaching airstrike, and yet the scene actually works. Weird. There are more moments like this in the closing action, again, mostly effective. Basically, the stuff we liked Independence Day for.

All told, this is a fun and light action movie that is easy fare and almost entirely entertaining. It does suffer from some familiarity within the genre, but if you are trying to touch that familiarity, this is just the comfort food you are looking for.

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